Great Adventure & Hurricane Harbor - July 4 - Watermelon Spitting - Corn Gone Bad & "Curse You LeAnn Rimes"

Sunday, July 5, 2009 11:54 PM

I had made my first real trip of year on July 4th where I set a course for 6 Flags. The web site said they were having their annual bar-b-que and fireworks so it was deiceded that it was time to go. Boy did I need it. Heavy stress, lack of sleep and huge demands in and out of school lately were telling me that it was time to have a day "just for me"...and so I did...and this is my story...

Left Long Island early...very early...no traffic along the scenic route from Route 9 to 537. Weather: Picture Perfect, sunny, mild high inthe low 80s.

This is the first year that I didn't have any free passes due to circomstances beyond my control, so Iwas planning to hit the ticket window with my coke can in hand. When I stopped at Wawa, I noticed a pre-paid ticket that would get me in for much less than the coke can. I grabbed it and went. Parking is still 15 bucks, but I got a very good spot. Also on the way in was a big sign saying that LeAnn Rimes was going to be holding a concert in the Northern Arena at 6PM. SWEET! I love country music and this could be an unscheduled bonus. (More on that later) Also on the way in were signs posted that Kingda Ka would be closed today. It would be so for the entire day

Thinking it was going to be mobbed, I ponied up for a gold bot. Hey, might as well start the year off right. I was in the que for the first showing of the schpiel in how to use it.

At the rope drop I headed over to Nitro and scored 3 rides in two waits. At the start of the day - all 3 trains were on-line. One ride was reagular in the front seat in the "C' train. I was hoping for what used to be a smooth ride, but I wouldn't say it was rough, but the shaking was noticable. While I was in the station I reserved my next ride for Nitro so I could compare trains. The next ride was in the middle of the B train and again it was a decent ride, but not as smooth as a few years ago. I did the one-cheak sneak and ended up for a quick re-ride mid train again.

The ride op, was mentioning that there would be fiireworks tonight at 10. Many others would repeat this information throughout the day. Good crew, though the trains were backing up.

Congo Rapids - I think if Great Adventure is going to update or re-theme a ride...this is where they should go next. This ride is very lame (though a bit refreshing) without the waterfall and it would be better with effects and guysers, etc. There was no real line for this.

Batman the Ride - perhaps one of the most consistent rides in the park. It still packs a punch, but every year it seems that it's getting shorter and shorter. On a personal note, I have never had a problem with this ride at all, but I needed a boost with the mechanism from an op. Uh oh...perhaps it's time to lose a few pounds. I picked the wrong place for it though.

Batman the Dark Knight - Remember when this ride was new and the lines were huge...not today. Same preshow (which seems a bit dated now) I got a front row seat this time and I liked it for what it was.

I walked around a bit. The superheroes were taking photos and I can't help but think that the guy in the batman costume looks like a custodian from one of my schools. I'm not sure if they were the same cast from last year, but they looked good in their attire. Again, I ask, why would superheroes need security to stand by. Who is going to mess with Wonder Woman or Green Hornet?

Lunch at the Panda place. - The shrimps were very good, but the lo-mein was dry and tasteless. The place was clean and air-conditioned, and though pricy, it wasn't that bad. While I was in there (not crowded at all) I took a seat and watched 6 Flags TV for about 20 minutes. If they would stay focussed on the rides and attractions of other parks, I would find it more interesting, but the video clips from Dick Clark's New Year's Eve Shows and the American Music Awards (Also a Dick Clark Show) were out of place.

I decided to walk around a bit to try Bizzaro. The sky buckets were closed (rats) and so I walked down to the other side. Along hte way were a few car diaplays (I am in the market for one) and then came one of hte funniest sights I ever saw...a big blowup slice of of watermelon and a semi-organized mat to measure distances of pit spitting. Here's the deal...you sign up (A waiver to say that if you get hurt seed spitting, that 6 Flags is not responsible) if you are the winning kid, you will get a meet and greet with LeAnn Rimes. Six Flags is not one to give stuff away, so I signed up, and asked, "If an adult wins, can they spit some seeds AT LeAnn Rimes?" (Well I thought it was funny.) Anyway, I loaded the cannon and ran up to the line and let one fly...I pretended that it was leaving a major league stadium, but it never landed on the mat. I guess it was a foul. I tried again. (Pshehchhh...) "Look, I took out that cardnal near the runaway train, that has to count for something." "Sorry sir."

Oh well, at least I had a thin slice of watermelon as a consolation prize and I walked away defeated. Well on the way to the bathroom, there was a table with people from some watermelon concert and a young lady in a red dress with a sash across it proclaiming her "Watermelon Queen 2009." She also was wearing a shiny tiarra. Wow...royalty. "Are you really the queen of all watermelons? When you are in the fields, do all of the Watermelons kind of roll around and bow their stems in order to pay tribute to you? And what happened to the Watermelon Queen of 2008? If you are the watermelon queen, shouldn't your crown be a rind?" "Well sir, we are just trying to show everyone how watermelon can be a good and tasty snack." (Overall, I found the watermelon people to be very polite and thorough. I am glad they have made peace with the honeydew and cumquat kingdoms and are in the process of establishing diplomatic relationships with the celary.)

Bizzaro - Medusa used to be one of the most reliable rides in the park. Now they took out two rear seats, added a soundtrack that you can't clearly hear, and threw in some weak misters you can't feel and fire that you can't really see during the day. Nice logo as you walk up to it, but why? I felt it was as many have posted here...huh? They should not advertise this ride as "ALL NEW."

Hurricane Harbor - I drove over to the waterpark. It was crowded - but not insane. I needed a full soaking and a lounge chair to nap on. Boy I am getting old. I couldn't find a lounge in the shade so I went over to the wave pool. It was during a saftey chek where everyone must leave the pool for 15 minutes at the end of each hour. Finally we were allowed in and a few minutes later the waves started. Most of the better waves were on the sides of the pool.

The lazy river was great - except that I had to wait until I could score a tube from an exiting person which took about ten minuntes. Once I was on, it was very relaxing. Except for the band that was hired to play that day. Hurricane Harbor works best with tropical, Carribian or Jimmy Buffet stuff. A metal band was just too much noise and out of place for the park and its clientelle.

I took a few minutes and did a tube slide. The lines moved at a decent clip and it was a fun run. I like waterparks.

I found a lounge and tuned out the rest of the world for an hour. Nirvana!

Overall -

1) The place needs more bathrooms and shady lounge areas

2) Food choices (Not that I was eating in the park) are limited

3) Lifeguards everywhere! The ones working the wave pool might have the hardesst job in the park.

4) Mostly a Family Atmosphere today

Back at Great Adventure...

I decided to go over to customer relations and pick up the seasons pass. With what I spent for the gate and for the waterpark, I might as well maximize my investment since I don't have any freebies this year. I also wanted to pay for the bar-b-cue. The guy behind the glass gave me the receipt and sent me to processing...who told me that Guest Relations gave me the wrong ticket and that it was only for the animal park and Great Adventure...not the waterpark. Back to see my friend.. He apoligized and fixed it...back to processing... HEY!!! that's Mr. Six! Or someone who looks like him. He was taking photos with two dancers and he was not in dancing mode...just quiet and smiling. I would have loved a photo, and this is one of those times I wish I had my camera. Great Ad Campaign! NOw that I was processed I had to walk all the way back to the picnic area. (grumble grumble).

The bar-b-cue was better attended this time that last year, but the food was good and the menu unchanged. (All you can eat burgers, franks, chicken, beans, slaw and potato salad (which was the only thing subpar this year). They also had soda dispensors and condiments in the big tent. Desert was store-brand ice cream cups. Very nice and well worth the $15 for adults.

Time to take in a show. LeAnn Rimes was supposed to go on at 6 PM. HA! There was an opening act which was an up an coming band working on their first album. They were good, but way too loud. I thought this was a country show. I found out that the Northern Arena can hold 10 thousand people. LeAnn and her opening act were probably maxed out at 4 grand. It was nice to see all the kids just running around with American Flags and their recently purchased capes just running around and having fun. If you didn't like your seat, you were more than welcome to stand near the stage. I had forgotten that the concert arena is that big and the guys in the suits were near the rear of the theatre, making sure that everyone and everything is ok.

Well, after the band opened it took nearly 45 minutes to clear their stuff out and to get ready for LeAnn. You know what...an opening act should have the bare minimum of stuff...unless they are being thrusted on the headliner by the record label. This was rediculoius. She went on after 7 and was just ok. She was as loud as the band before her - which was needless. I left after the second song. I think in her career she went from singing "Blue" to being a pop wannabe.

The sky ride was up and running and I took one of my favorite rides over to the big wheel. The new lights are ok, but first they went on and later they flashed around. The view from those two rides is fantastic. Great breezes too!

At that point, I was really getting tired so I returned my bot and called it a day.

On the way home, I was listening to the Philadelphia Country Station WXTU - which was playing some very patriotic country songs along with the pledge of allegiance from the military...followed by "Whrere Were You When The World Stopped Turning." It was very moving to me and not nearly as loud and obnoxious as the show in the Northern Arena. As this was going on, I ran into a huge fireworks display over the turnpike, which became very surreal to me. It was a nice and memorable ride home.

Other stuff-

Bathrooms - Clean, well-stocked and badly needed!

Security - Not one line cutter all day. Very limited profanity today.

Crowds - Less than 2/3 full in the lot. Very few tanks (buses).

Corn - What is that smell? Wow does that smell good. Hey, they now sell roasted corn. It must be terrific, I gotta try that. Huh??? 5 bucks? The small size is five bucks. It clealy cost about 59 cents for a can of corn. So you put it in a roaster and sprinkle on some seasoning and charge 5 bucks. As good as it smells, I am not paying five bucks for it. You know what...now that I am friends with the Watermelon Queen, I am going get her to enforce a new policy denouncing corn's right to exist.

Overall, I had a nice day yesterday! Have a great night and thanks for reading this!

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Monday, July 6, 2009 6:31 AM

If you want to try the OTHER versions of Bizarro (the coaster formally kow as Superman) at SFNE, it's better than the one at GA. I do agree that the soundtrack is muddled and doesn't really add anything to the ride, but the mister DO work and are refreshing.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009 3:19 PM

Hanging around the Watermelon Queen? I think you're out of your gourd! :)

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009 6:53 PM

^ Ouch Bear! That was terrible! I think you otta "SQUASH" those other pun floating around in your skull.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009 10:10 PM

This is unusual. I did a search and realized that there isn't just one, but several "Watermelon Queens." Apparently, several states have thier own Watermelon Queens...all charged with the mission of promoting the sales and glory of watermelons.

Here are a few...

http://www.mardelwatermelon.org/

http://www.lionswatermelonfestival.com/res/festivalCourt.html

http://www2.winthrop.edu/news/releases/watermelonqueen.htm

http://www.nationalwatermelonassociation.com/flash/Index.htm

http://www.georgiawatermelonassociation.org/promotions/promotions.htm

Apparently quite a few of these young ladies use these titles to go on to bigger pagents. I once met a country singer who was a queen of a particular county fair. She told me the lower end of the pagent circuit is both very competative and often times run by weasels.

I guess there is big demand for fruit related coronations. Perhaps young women pushing thier melons is good for business.

Yet, how would you like to be a runner up in thier contest? What could a watermelon queen possibly do to get disqualified...switch parties and convert to cucumbers?

I just thought the whole idea of a watermelon queen was histerical. But after some thought, I figure...why not.

There's Dairy Queen, Speed Queen, Queen Latifah (Like that's not a stage name), Queens - New York, Queen (The Band) so why not a watermelon queen?

Back to the amusment park (This was a trip report at one time)...

It seems that every time Great Adventure has a small promotion of some sort - it is run by and promoted by some outside organization. This was just another example, albeit a funny one, of these sponsorships.

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Friday, July 17, 2009 2:26 PM

You said young women pushing their melons!

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Monday, August 3, 2009 9:44 PM

The saga continues....

I guess I was beaten by a 12 year old.

Here is the story from Newsday.

http://www.newsday.com/long-island/suffolk/bellmore-seed-spitter-to-be-on-jimmy-fallon-show-1.1344239

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